Legowelt, Star Gazing

[Unknown to the Unknown]

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Danny Wolfers, best known as Legowelt, has become so prolific that recently it’s become difficult to keep up. With his solo work and remixes having increased dramatically over the past couple years, his team-ups with Xosar rolling along, and a multitude of aliases constantly being employed for other genre explorations, anyone trying to be a completist runs the risk of breaking the bank. At the same time, artists that open up the faucets can be viewed as indiscriminately flooding the market with material that seesaws between personal derivation and each new release trumping the last, and thereby decreasing relevancy. But Wolfers hasn’t let that deter him, letting his creative juices dictate workflow at a dizzying pace. His latest, on the peculiar UK label Unknown To The Unknown, sees Wolfers tapping into an unlikely retro vein while keeping his characteristically quirky melody arrangements in play.

The title track focuses on the latter, starting off with a 60s Star Trek episode dialogue and icy chords before introducing early UK-rave square bass, stabs, and tumbling breakbeats. On paper it sounds hackneyed but it surpasses mere rehash and rises to the bar set by classic tracks from that era like The Black Dog’s “Virtual,” Ability II’s “Pressure,” and the like. “Visions In My Mind” works a female vocal, pensive chords, and legato bass for what appears to be a familiar deep-house trope. Wolfers, however, puts his stamp on it by bringing in an off-key organ melody, arpeggio sequence and a hi-hat/snare rhythm that sounds buried in the mix, as if it’s bleeding through an adjacent room’s system perfectly in time. And when Wolfers cuts up the “ah” and “uh” vocals into rhythmic chug it gives it that ebullient feel he and Xosar nailed so well on “Pacific House” last year. The last track, “Wayfaring Stranger,” contains pulsing arpeggio lines and a de-tuned synth melody to drive the booming syncopated kicks. The synth motifs start to multiply as the track progresses, creating an urgent energy that occasionally feels overwhelming. Overall, Star Gazing proves what has long been suspected about Wolfers: the quality generally matches the quantity.

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